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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"


youth, and there arose a demand for an education to fit them for
the new conditions, which was speedily met by the appearance
of a new class of teachers called Sophists, who professed them-
selves able to supply the needed education. At the same time,
the rapid increase in wealth and in political influence was bringing
about far-reaching changes in the temper and habits of the people*
The simple life of the centuries before Salamis quickly disappeared
and a more luxurious fashion took its place.

These changes were reflected in the educational system of
Athens: most of all in the education of the lads, but also to
some extent in the education of the children. We get a view
of the situation in the latter case, as it presented itself to a
strenuous but not very fair critic, in the Clouds of Aristophanes,
written in 423 B.C. Here is his account of the old education
that had passed, or was passing, away: " In the first place,
boys were not allowed to utter a word. All those from the
same quarter of the city were obliged to march together in
good order through the streets to the music school, in the vScantieat
clothing, even if it snowed as thick as meal. There they were
taught to memorize a song, without crossing their legs—cither
Dallas, dread sacker of cities,' or 'A shriek sounding far*
—shouting out vigorously the melody handed down by our fathers.
And if any of them attempted to play the fool, or to introduce
any of the troublesome new-fashioaed trills, he got a severe
thrashing for insulting the Muses." .The main charges brought
implicitly or explicitly against the new education by Aristophanes
in this passage were: (i) That there had been a relaxation of
the strict discipline of earlier days which had made the boys less
modest and well-behaved; (z) that there had been substituted
for the traditional epic and lyric poems which had served the
older generation the works of more recent and less worthy writers;
and (3) that there had been introduced into the music various
elaborations which had deprived it of its severe simplicity and
lowered its educational valueA

(We also learn from other sources that about this time a
distinction had been made between the literary and the musical
studies, and that in addition to the music master (the ntf«^<m}*)
there ,was now also a special master of literature (a y/»w«'*
T^V), whose special business was to teach reading, writing, and
arithmetic, and the memorizing of Homer, Hesiod, and the